The forest garden design

Co-creating sacred space

Hoathly Hill Forest Garden

I recently rediscovered the beginnings of a community forest garden I had been involved in initiating in Lewes as part of Transition Town Lewes in 2008, which fell upon infertile ground, when our vision, although supported by the council, was not supported by our neighbouring allotment holders. They prefered a quiet life, rather than largish groups of people buzzing about the site. I also moved away from the area temporarily, but the vision of a community forest garden never left me. This vision was shared by several of my new neighbours at Hoathly Hill.

We based the design process on the SADIM framework as well as the forest garden design process recommended by Martin Crawford in his book, Forest Gardening. The observations and analyses showed us that there were two dimensions to this design: a people design and a site design. Our aim was to integrate the two elements at all times in this community environmental project so we decided to involve the community at all stages of the design process and implementation. This was in two phases: the initial phase of setting up the project and first year of implementation involving the immediate community, Hoathly Hill Community; a second phase of organising educational events combining implementation of our design elements and integrating the wider community.